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From Greenville Tech to Furman and beyond

When Jessie Stanion left high school in California, she I did not expect to attend college. However, at age 23, living in Greenville, she decided to take night classes at Greenville Technical College. That decision ultimately led her to finish her studies at Greenville Tech and transfer to Furman, where she received the Alden Transfer Scholarship and graduated in 2014 with a degree in neuroscience. Stanion’s educational journey was aided greatly by Furman psychology professors Frank Provenzano and Onarae Rice, and she wrote about that journey in an op-ed for The Greenville News.

Celebrating Campus Leaders

Furman junior Ben Riddle is involved in the University Innovation Fellows, a group of students intent on generating more entrepreneurial activity and collaboration across their campuses. Supported by Epicenter, a national hub for entrepreneurship and engineering education funded by the National Science Foundation and headquartered at Stanford University, the program has more than tripled in the past year to 168 students at 85 campuses. In a recent blog post, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy praised the University Innovation Fellows program while celebrating National Entrepreneurship Month.  Riddle, who is from Greenville, is creating an Individualized Curriculum Program (ICP) in Social Entrepreneurship with a minor in Poverty Studies.

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A new wall in Germany

Brandon Tensley, a 2012 Furman graduate, has published an op-ed in Time magazine that looks at Germany 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Tensley writes that even though the Berlin Wall no longer exists, a different wall has taken its place. It’s a divide, he says, that threatens the stability of the European continent—the separation between native and non-native Germans.

Tensley graduated summa cum laude from Furman with a degree in political science and German. A native of Columbia, he is currently working toward a M.Phil. degree in European Politics and Society at the University of Oxford in England.

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Yik Yak celebrates a birthday

Furman alumni Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington are celebrating a birthday, the first for their online business that has attracted big investments. Their anonymous messaging app, Yik Yak, which connects users who are geographically close to each other, has become a sensation on college campuses. It has also become a big hit with investors. The former Kappa Alpha fraternity brothers, who started the company after graduating in 2013, raised $1.5 million this spring and another $10 million shortly after that. Yik Yak, which has become the third-most downloaded app on the Google Play store, now has 22 employees. Read more in GSA Business.

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Students who play harder think smarter

Physical education classes are a daily ritual at Legacy Charter School in Greenville, which built its education philosophy on the belief that 45 minutes of organized P.E. per day would improve student health and academic performance. It’s working. Legacy’s students are trimmer and perform better in fitness tests, according to the fifth-year results of an ongoing study performed by Dr. Julian Reed, a health science professor at Furman. His study also shows that the students are displaying marked improvement in cognitive measures over their counterparts. The Greenville News ran on a front-page story on the extraordinary work that Reed is doing at Legacy.

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Selective colleges not out of reach

The college admissions and enrollment process can be intimidating and complicated, especially to low-income students who are the first in their family to attend college. But studies have shown that that when low-income students do enroll at selective universities, they perform as well as their higher-income counterparts. That is one reason Furman’s Bridges to a Brighter Future program sponsored a community-wide program to help remove some of the fears and obstacles students face when applying to more selective schools. Tobi Kinsell and Danielle Staggers, director and assistant director of Bridges, respectively, explained their rationale in an op-ed for The Greenville News.

Recognizing Furman in the fall

Best College Values, a college planning resource, has released a list of the 50 American colleges with the most natural beauty in the fall.  Furman was No. 30 on the list, which acknowledged the schools whose campuses have “stunning” display of colors in the fall.  According to the website, the 50 listed colleges “are fortunate enough to experience breathtaking changes in scenery thanks to the fall season. Just between the start of the school year and the chills of winter you can find these campuses in their full glory.”

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A lasting legacy

The Greenville community recently lost a philanthropist and community leader, Mamie Jolley Bruce, whose lasting legacy has and will continue to make a difference in Greenville. Her generous gift created Furman’s Bridges to a Brighter Future, a nationally recognized program that strives to end the cycle of poverty for Greenville County high school students whose potential outdistances their circumstances. Since its inception in 1997, Bridges students have graduated from colleges all over the country, including Furman, Harvard, Duke and most of the schools in South Carolina. Tobi Kinsell, director of the Bridges program at Furman, wrote an op-ed for the Greenville Journal about the amazing legacy Bruce left behind.

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A circuitous journey into politics

Madeline Rogero took a circuitous path to her current position as mayor of Knoxville, Tenn. After graduating from Furman with a degree in political science in 1979, Rogero worked with César Chávez’s United Farm Workers, a labor union advocating for better wages and conditions for migrant farm workers. She then moved to Knoxville in 1980, where she earned a master’s degree at the University of Tennessee in urban planning and started working with community-based organizations. Rogero talked about her journey into politics when she spoke recently to students in the “Women, Politics and the Law” class at UT.  Read more in The Daily Beacon.

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A gap year before Furman

It’s a familiar script that millions of students follow each year: Graduate high school and then immediately start college. But more and more students are embracing the “gap year”—a year of volunteering and working before heading to campus. Elizabeth Campbell, a Furman freshman from Little Rock, Ark., did just that by deferring her admission to Furman for a year and moving to Seville, Spain, as part of a gap year program with the Council on International Educational Exchange.  Read more in Metro.